[not] alone


If you know me, you know I try to be considerate of everyone I meet. If you really know me, you know I try to find beauty and joy in each day.

And if you really, really know me, you know I get nervous around people I don’t know, anxious with confrontation, and that I struggle with my own sense of self-worth. As in, really struggle. That there are more days than I’d like to admit when I wonder what my purpose is for being here.

I’ve been working on opening up more about this, on putting a name to the shadow as a means of identifying it as just that – a shadow that can be banished by the light.

In admitting my own fears, what I’ve found is that there are so many of us out there. So many of us who are uncertain, and maybe a little scared, and maybe a little sad, and fighting demons of loneliness and self-doubt.

In fact, based on the responses I’ve had, I’d venture to say that it may even be a large percentage of us.

By opening up about my own uncertainties, other people have felt more comfortable talking about theirs.

And guess what?

There are lots of us.

Which means two things.

First, there is something wrong with the messages we, as a society, give to each other about vulnerability and sadness.

We’re not “supposed to” be scared or lonely or anxious; we’re “supposed to” be tough, and smart, and happy, and self-confident, and completely comfortable both in a crowd and being alone – and so we all cover up our “weaknesses.” Which only compounds the impression of being the only one struggling with these thoughts and emotions.

Second, that we are not alone. So many of our friends and loved ones often feel the same way, but we’re all hiding it, trying to be tough.

Often, people say that the hardest thing is feeling so alone, like there is no one out there who feels the way they do, who understands what they are going through. But so many of us feel that way.

Your “alone” might feel different than my “alone,” but for both of us, it can be soul-wrenchingly aching, bone-deep painful, and sometimes creates a curtain of bleakness that shrouds the view of the future. It can make it extremely difficult to look forward to the coming days.

But it’s lying.

There is hope in the future.

There is light in your life.

There is joy yet to be had.

I saw a challenge in which a person identifies one word to focus on, one word to try to live for this year. If there is a word that resonates with you, that helps you meet the challenge of another day, I encourage you to focus on that. Let it become your mantra. Let it be your reminder, when things get hard, that you are not alone, that you are stronger, and that you will make it through. Post it on your bathroom mirror and on your car visor and on whatever you look at at work. Flood your environment with it to continually lift you.

If there is not a word that helps you, I invite you to share the word I’ve chosen:


Believe in your own worth.

Believe in the beauty of your unique soul.

Believe in the unfathomable greatness of your heart.

Believe in the very real magic and value of your presence.

Believe in the brilliant light that is your future.

Believe that you are never alone, no matter what the shadows might try to tell you.

And believe that you, one-and-only, amazing you – believe that you have a purpose and a reason for being here.

May you have a beautiful and blessed 2018.

-KJ Roe




Riding the Rails


You look thinner
hair unkempt
clothes unwashed
I ask how you’re doing
where are you staying
do you have food
You smile vaguely
doesn’t reach your eyes
eyes that avoid mine
You say you’re good
got an okay place
got big plans
I ask if you’re eating
offer a lunch date
maybe some groceries
Ask about extracurriculars
simple code for
are you using
Tell you I’m worried
offer help as I
[secretly] scan for signs
You wear long sleeves
pants that once fit
taped-up shoes
Are you covering tracks?
red eyes lacking sleep?
are these gifts yours to give?
I watch, and I fear, and I
tell you.

Tell you I love you too.

We both know
I’m stupid.
Both know I question
your stories
Both know I want you
this train you’ve boarded
Helpless as I try
to show you
To show you
To try to bring you back
from the broken track.

But I am not the engineer,

And I fear
are no longer

Driving this train.

-KJ Roe


After Hours


Toes spread
like starfish in the sand
Music of millennia
in the sighs of the waves
Gentle curve of the leg
traced by trembling hand
Anticipation’s desire
drowns thirsty lover’s mind

Shifts as subtleties and explosions
of escaped breaths and
Murmured invitations
dressed in emperor’s clothes
Mouths meet in cocktail-flavored
little-lost-child decisions
Longing for touch of meaning
to depths of heart and soul

Knowing this is yet another

-KJ Roe





Find the beauty

in curls of smoke

and heathered sky over

sugar-snow frosted trees


In cold so deep

it shimmers in ice crystals

suspended in the air


Find the beauty

in sharings of laughter

and stilted conversation

between estranged family


In aching longing

and hopes near hopeless

and joyful renewal


Find the beauty

in doe-soft brown eyes

carried on spindly legs

through drifts and trees


In open heart and innocence

stubbornly strong and wishful

fighting life’s jaded edge


Find the beauty

in me.

-KJ Roe


This Is Why

Autumn lake – PC KJ Roe

Dear Friends and Family who have been subjected to the mess that is my car,

This is why. Why there is always a stash of life vests, and paddles, and extra clothes, and fishing gear, or winter gear, and snow shoes, and extra gloves, and sleeping bags. Why there’s always a book bag of notebooks, pens, pencils, and books.

Because, after a stressful day at work, I can be here. Here, floating between earth and sky, skimming along the tops of reflected clouds, nature’s quiet voice a balm to my mind. Here, separated briefly from daily cares, surrounded by reminders of the quietness of creation. Here, where the immensity of this beauty puts perspective to the smallness of my problems.

This is why, when you see me post pictures or hear me talk about my weekend, you rarely hear about me cleaning and doing chores. They happen (perhaps a bit less often than they “should”), but they are not priority.

You see, I’ve lost enough to know better. I’ve lost enough people in my life to know you don’t take loved ones for granted. You don’t miss an opportunity to say I love you or to give a kiss or a hug.

I’ve seen enough ugliness and hatefulness to appreciate every bit of beauty I can find.

And I’ve lived through just enough heartache to know that you must seek peace, and hold it when you find it.

None of it is guaranteed. Life is time-limited. Relationships, experiences, and adventures are limited by that time. So, given a sunny day, a good snowfall, a few moments with someone I care about, I hope I always choose to live in the moment. I hope I choose beauty.

I hope I live up to life.

-KJ Roe



Worlds lie behind her eyes
Galaxies of unexplored beauty
Tragedies and comedies
And whole long lives
Hopes and dreams
Endless loves and broken hearts
Landscapes lit by
Impossible light
Oceans of longings
Fed by Elysian rivers
Mountains flung against

Preternatural skies
Craggy peaks lined by
Vales and valleys half-seen
Traced by mists
Depths indiscernible
To naked eye
Breadth and width
Only to be discovered
By the most dedicated of souls

-KJ Roe






Water calls my name
The undersides of waves
The foam illusory
Soft to touch
The violence of the whitecaps
Clashing in battle
The changing of the tide a
Moving boundary
A million shades to tease
The eye
Blues, greys, greens flecked
With silver light
The peace of unconquerable
Teasing the shore with its
Siren call
My soul gasping, straining
To answer

– KJ Roe